Another in the drip-feed I’m giving you of my travels round the south earlier in the year took me to Basingstoke. Yeah, why would I want to go to a place like that, you wonder, but it’s in the way when I’m trying to get to prettier places like Winchester or more varied hunting grounds like Southampton. Anyway, as this picture will show you, it’s got a lot of London buses running around in it – mostly pensioned off far before their time due to fairly trivial reasons of not being low floor, or having a centre door. Stagecoach Hampshire Bus 34109 (V109 MVX, left) was born SLD 109 with Stagecoach East London and was delivered to North Street late in 1999 to finish the conversion to SLD of the 247 that had started with the filtering in of various Alexander-bodied compatriots spare from elsewhere. However, the 247 was converted back to double-deck in 2004 and the Darts had to go. Fitted with the latest dot-matrix blinds (which I have rather a soft spot for and will cover at greater length sometime in the future), 34109 pauses at Basingstoke Station on Saturday 14th January 2006.
By comparison, here is a shot of the bus’s London spell (centre) – but not at its home garage. When the 230 was single-deck operated between 1996 and 2004, its operator, Leyton garage, would often fall short of Darts for this busy route and would borrow from adjacent garages, usually North Street. Anything was possible, with all of DW, DRL and DAL classes of step-entrance Dart photographed by myself, and accordingly on Monday 21st August 2000 SLD 109 was loaned; it is seen setting off from Wood Green.
Tuesday 19 December 2006
Knocking Around The Home Counties 2